13 August 2020 | Updated information regarding COVID-19 refunds at Alhambra has been added. 

23 July 2019 | While best efforts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information, it should be used as guidance only. If you have updated information please contact policy@etoa.org.

Hot topics

The Government of the Balearic Islands has passed a decree effective from 23 January 2020 for 5 years which implements a range of measures in the West End of Saint Antoni (Ibiza), Magaluf, Palma Beach and s’Arenal (Mallorca). The measures introduced affect the consumption of alcohol and target anti-social behaviour. ‘All inclusive’ packages will be limited to 6 per day (3 at lunch and 3 at dinner).

Tour operators with contracts agreed with hotels before 23 January 2020 are exempt from the ‘all-inclusive’ restriction during 2020.

Tax

A tourism tax (tasa turística) only applies in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

Please click on the right hand banner 
to find out rates and further information. 


VAT:
21% (reduced to 10% for hotels and restaurants)
European Commission VAT rates in member states

Access and Mobility

Attractions

These attractions are selected due to high demand and/or operational issues. If you think we should include others, please contact policy@etoa.org.

Attractions located in Barcelona can be found here.

Attractions located in Madrid can be found here.

If you are a member attraction of ETOA and would like your attraction featured on this page, please contact policy@etoa.org.

There are rumours that the Spanish Minister of Culture, José Guirao, is considering to prohibit reselling of tickets to attractions without adding extra value, e.g. package the ticket with something else. We are following this case closely as a prohibition may have a considerable impact on capacity management, distribution and ticketing of major attractions in Spain.

Updated 13 August 2020

Alhambra is now open again after COVID-19 closures. Information about access and additional requirements can be found here. Some are:

  • Only individual visits or groups of up to 25 people are allowed
  • The use of audio guides or other similar material is suspended for the moment
  • Use of the mask is mandatory except for cases stipulated by regulations
  • The left luggage service, baby carriers and vending machines will not be in operation
  • Payment by card is recommended
COVID-19 refunds
Alhambra has refunded, or is in the process of refunding, all bookings from March to June when the attraction was closed. They are currently refusing to refund bookings after June, despite most groups not being able to visit. We are in close contact with the Alhambra to try and find a solution.

 

General information

Alhambra’s official website can be found here.

The Board of Trustees of the Alhambra and Generalife have issued new regulations for the site following official notification on 24 January 2020. This will have a significant impact on 2020 production and future product design. The plan can be found here (in Spanish) and here (in English). The apparent intention is to minimise the reselling-only secondary market“… the system of distributing tickets through authorised agents is eliminated and replaced with a direct purchase procedure procedure…”. 

A significant change is that there will no longer be any ticket allocation to hold, then confirm, issue and pay; all tickets must be paid in full and all names and ID numbers (e.g. passport numbers) must be entered at the time of purchase. You will only be able to change a small percentage of the names (see ticket amendments below). 

The new regime is as follows:  

Booking requirements 

  • Tickets must be paid for in full, and names and ID details must be provided at time of purchase.   
  • Alhambra requests that everyone creates a ‘profile’ on the site in order to book tickets and ease bookings’ listing and invoicing.
  • Companies that wish to book directly are no longer be required to provide proof that they are established tour operators, and both individuals and companies are now able to purchase tickets directly. 
  • It is possible for operators to upload an excel list with client details to ensure details are uploaded within the 30 minute booking window.

Ticket amendments 

It is only possible to change a small percentage of the names per booking: 

  • From 5 to 9 tickets: 1 name change 
  • From 10 to 19 tickets: 2 name changes 
  • From 20 to 30 tickets: 3 name changes 

Booking horizons 

  • 36% of tickets will be available one year in advance (long-term) 
  • 22% three months in advance (medium-term) 
  • 12% one month in advance (short-term) 

Allocations 

The annual capacity of Alhambra is 2,763,500 people. 

  • 18% of tickets will be for educational tours, schools, associations and official visits* 
  • 12% via hotels** 
  • 70% for individuals and groups (1.934.450 tickets per year) 

The new booking system shows exactly how many tickets are available for each booking slot.

This is evidently a complex system which will cause operational challenges during both transition period and implementation, especially learning that ID numbers are now required at bookings up to one year in advance and only a few amendments are allowed per booking. We are in close dialogue with the Patronato and will provide feedback from ETOA members and seek clarification on various parts of the new plan. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Jorge Traver or Sofie Jensen. 

We will also compile a business impact survey so we may work with them in optimising capacity, and mitigating adverse impact on legitimate business, including the impact on value-adding products outside classic packages, e.g. guide + timed entrance sold for one price.

*Our understanding is that this does not include tour operators working with school groups. See point 3.3: “Foundations, associations, institutions and centres of a cultural nature will have access to this channel provided that it does not involve a tourist activity and is not managed by private entities or companies.” 

** The description of this section is: “It encompasses the agreements and arrangements that promote public initiatives for the purpose of overnight stays and the economic and social development of the city of Granada and its province. It will be allocated 12% of the annual tickets. Each arrangement will establish the procedure for the management and sale of tickets.” We will seek clarification which type of company this will include. 

Last updated: 23 June 2020

The resort re-opens after COVID-19 on 8 July. New hygiene and safety measures can be found here.

The resort operates five 4-star and one 5-star themed hotels with over 2,200 rooms and is home to three theme parks: PortAventura Park, PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park and Ferrari Land, plus a Conventions Centre. The PortAventura park offer themed areas such as the Mediterranean, Chinese, Mexican and Polynesian area. There is also a specific area for smaller children, the SésamoAventura. A map of the three parks can be found here.

Official website can be found here, information about opening hours here. The busiest time to visit is in high season and Halloween, but during these periods the opening hours are extended to midnight. The park has between 10,000-30,000 daily visitors. 2020 is their 25th anniversary, updates about special celebrations will be announced on the website.

PortAventura World has a team dedicated to group and B2B business and offer special rates for the theme parks for clients staying at the hotel: 1 free ticket plus 3 tickets at 50% off.

Contact information:
Carlota Farriol
carlota.farriol@portaventura.es
+34650580330

Bookings open one year in advance and tickets can be reserved via email, phone and through their online portal. The payment and cancellation policy depend on the collaboration contract. Only PortAventura World’s own guides are able to guide in the parks.

Guiding regulation

In Spain, guiding (Guía turístico) is a partly regulated profession (regulated by regions – Comunidades Autonomas), where some autonomous regions, such as the Basque country, have not regulated the profession, others like Asturias or Andalusia have regulated it, and Madrid has deregulated it.

Museums and Patrimonio Nacional (Royal palaces, castles and some museums) are not part of the regional guiding regulations, and guides need to have a licence to be able to guide in these places.

Despite regions not having regulated guiding or have deregulated guiding, operators are frequently reporting verbal attacks on international guides/tour directors from local guides. If you are experiencing such issues, please contact policy@etoa.org.

You can find more information about guiding regulations in Spain on the Europeans Commission’s website here and read our guide on guiding regulations here.

Please click on the right hand banner to read more about guiding regulations in Europe and the ETOA tour guide ID card. 

Public holidays and opening hours

Spain has approximately eight national holidays (Fiestas Nacionales) annually as well as several regional and local holidays. The dates and numbers of public holidays are announced by the government for the following year in October.

Official announcements can be found here.

Normal business hours in Spain are from 08:30/09:00 to around 14:00. The Siesta will typically run until around 16:30/17:00, where business will re-open and continue until around 20:00.

Events and seasonality

There are several events taking place every year throughout Spain. The below is not an exhaustive list.

  • Euro 2020 football tournament will partly be hosted by Bilbao at the Estadio San Mamés (15/06/20 – 28/06/20). POSTPONED
  • La Tomatina is a yearly festival taking place in the town of Bunol close to Valencia. The main aspect of the festival is a tomato war, where the 20,000 participants throw tomatoes at each other. In 2019, the date of the festival is 25/08/2021. Around these dates, Bunol and the surrounding areas are expected to be busier than usual. It is possible to buy group tickets.
  • The Holy Week (Semana Santa) is held during Easter in most towns and cities. Celebrations are especially famous in Seville and Malaga.
  • Carnival takes place in February throughout Spanish towns. The carnival in Tenerife lasts the entire month of February.
  • The Fallas of Valencia takes place in March and has been declared an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Throughout the week, statues and figures take up space in the streets and squares.

ETOA activity

Our local Spain Country Representative Jorge Traver is focusing on developing the local membership base as well as our relationship with local authorities, attractions and other stakeholders.

Within the last few years, Sagrada Familia and the Alhambra are subject to increasing visitor pressure and operational difficulties; we are in dialogue with both. In Seville, we ran a cultural tourism seminar in September 2018, followed by HEM, our hotel workshop in February 2019.

We are continuously running seminars, working group meeting and networking drinks receptions in Barcelona. Please click here to learn more about our activities in Barcelona.

Jorge Traver

Jorge Traver
Country representative, Spain
jtraver@etoa.org
+34 629 088 344

Flag Spain

Resources

Spain’s sustainable tourism strategy 2030 can be found here.

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